(WXYZ) — For survivors of domestic violence, a new life can seem out of reach. It's a cycle of violence that's so difficult to break.
But one longtime metro Detroit shelter is helping to bridge the gap and it all starts with the turn of a key.
Walking into a home that's all your own is an empowering feeling but gaining a home after gaining the strength to take your life back is everything.
“This is actually an apartment leased by Turning Point for one of our survivors and her family,” says Sharman Davenport.
Welcome to your new home says Davenport, the CEO of domestic and sexual violence shelter Turning Point, which is now helping survivors turn the key to their own apartment.
“About 6 months ago we received about 4 grants that allowed us to start a housing program,” Davenport says. “So, when women survivors of domestic and sexual assault leave our shelter now, they have a place to go. It gives the women or men whoever may be in the situation the opportunity to take between 6 months to 24 months to kinda get their lives back on track.
We took an afternoon to tour one of the 54 apartments in Macomb County that survivors and their children can transition into from the Turning Point shelter, with furniture and the beginning of a bright future.
“I wish this was available, cuz I've been divorced almost 10 years now and if this was available, I would've left a long time ago,” says Nicole Carson.
With no home and, at one point, no hope Carson went to Turning Point to help her and her 3 children out of years of abuse by her ex-husband who happened to be a preacher.
“I literally did have to start over,” she says. “He took my car, had me thrown out on the street, and for a summer I had to live with my mother and her one-bedroom apartment while me and my kids were on air mattresses sleeping on the floor.”
Now, Nicole works for Turning Point as a survivor speaker and forensic nurse advocate and her son and daughters are doing great. Turning point gave her a new place to call home and she wants to do the same for anyone in need.
“I'm very good. I’m so happy,” she says. “And I owe that to Turning Point too, cuz he was acting up real bad, but him going through the counseling services got him to calm down, to calm down, write a book and he's a published author, and my daughter is a competition dancer. My kids get straight As in school. They are beautiful, wonderful kids.”
“It was really when we first announced this program back in November,” says Davenport. “We put our 1st survivors in before Christmas. Those survivors were just so appreciative and so grateful, and I think really realizing and recognizing that this is such a big step in their lives, a step towards having a life free of violence and it just has turned several lives around.”
Now I want to take a moment to pass along a few numbers for anyone who might need them.
Turning Point has a 24-hour hotline monitored by highly trained advocates. It's 586-463-6990.
And here's another. This is the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233. It's also available 24/7.